Annually, thousands of families in America face extensive home damage from tornadoes, fires, hurricanes, and other tragedies. If you are one of these people, homeowner’s insurance will present you with a second chance to build. However, getting all this work done is not as easy as writing one check.
Whether you are building a new home from scratch or renovating the current one, you need to choose a dependable, professional contractor.
Here are some tips that will help you to avoid costly mistakes:
Beware of disaster chasers
After a disaster occurs, it is quite common for contractors to show up hoping to profit from the damage. Although many of these companies are reputable, others do not have the necessary qualifications to complete a job successfully. The BBB (Better Business Bureau) warns against door-to-door contractors who offer unbelievable deals or employ high-pressure sales tactics.
Do you have any friends or relatives who have used the services of building contractors in your area of residence? You can start by asking your building inspector for recommendations. If nobody in your close circle of friends has a useful reference, you can check the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for reputable local contractors.
You need to call your local BBB to find out how long a company has been in business. You can start by searching for the name of the company on Google because unscrupulous contractors might start under a new business name. Does your state require contractors to be registered, licensed, or bonded?
Get in touch with the right regulatory agency if you want to make sure that the person you are hiring meets the necessary requirements.
Visit the current job sites of the contractor
Once you visit the contractor’s job sites, you need to check whether they are clean. Do the workers handle the materials and tools with care? You should remember that the builder is going to work the same way on your property. If you can, make sure that you visit the builder’s permanent office to make sure that it is professional.
Ask the contractor for insurance information
Any reputable company should carry property damage, worker’s compensation, and personal liability insurance. When you ask for these documents, make sure that you look at their expiration date – you do not want the insurance coverage to expire before your project is complete.
Get estimates in writing
You should ask three reputable contractors for bids. If their prices vary wildly, you need to find out why instead of choosing the lowest price. In some cases, contractors who have the cheapest prices cut corners by buying cheap building materials. Cheaper contractors might also hire inexperienced workers and fail to prioritize the repair of your home.
Understand the timing
How soon can the work start? In the wake of a major disaster, most reputable contractors tend to be booked solid and cannot start working on your home until much later. However, this could be a good sign that the contractor is good at his job.
If the contractor that you hire is ready to start working, there might be a good reason for that.
Do not pay too much upfront
Most contractors ask for a downpayment of 20 to 30 percent before they start working. If your contractor is asking for too much upfront, you should consider walking away. Whatever you do, you should not pay the final installment until the job is complete.
Are you looking for building plans? You can buy them from online shops such as Cottage Depot if you do not want to spend thousands on hiring an architect.